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Saudi Arabia Supports IMO Environmental Protection Projects

On September 28th, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, H.E. Saleh Al Jasser met with the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim, to reaffirm Saudi Arabia’s continued support for the IMO and promote The Kingdom’s candidacy for election to the IMO’s Category C Council.

At the end of the meeting H.E. Saleh Al Jasser signed three partnership agreements that will see Saudi Arabia donating US$509,000 to fund IMO projects focussed on reducing ship-based emissions, protecting marine biodiversity, and combating marine litter. Minister Al Jasser noted that “no one can do this alone and no one should be left behind. We need both the North and the South to get connected in this innovation ecosystem.”

The first of the three projects is the GloFouling partnership, which seeks to reduce the transboundary introduction of invasive aquatic species known as biofouling. The introduction of invasive species has a detrimental effect not only on marine biodiversity, but also on offshore sectors such as ocean renewable energy, fisheries and the oil and gas industries. Additionally, biofouling on vessels increases the surface area of ship hulls, creating drag and therefore increasing fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

Saudi Arabia’s support for the GloFouling Partnership will sponsor a workshop for women in Arab states in the maritime sector to improve awareness and expertise of biofouling management. The event will bring together women in maritime administrations, researchers, entrepreneurs, representatives from private companies and the IMO-supported Women in Maritime Associations to reduce existing gender disparities within the maritime sector and stimulate initiatives and opportunities sponsored or created by women.

Secondly, the GloLitter Project seeks to support developing countries, including Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in establishing opportunities for the prevention and reduction of marine litter. Marine litter, particularly plastic, is a serious issue affecting the marine environment and threatens ocean safety and quality, coastal tourism and human health. Saudi Arabia’s contribution will support the GloLitter network, by connecting Lead Partnering Countries and Partnering Countries more closely to improve implementation of Glolitter activities and establish specific work plans.

The final agreement provided US$401,150 to fund the IMO Coordinated Actions to Reduce Emissions from Shipping (CARES) foundation project. This initiative will act as the IMO’s overarching framework to coordinate global collaboration and coordination to ensure no countries will be left behind in implementing effective solutions.

Saudi Arabia’s contribution will be vital in the design and framework of this global programme and will build on and complement other ongoing IMO research and development initiatives around the world.

In the words of Minister Al Jasser, “We know that we are going to face some tough choices if we are to meet our goal. But we are convinced that climate action will enhance competitiveness, spark innovation, and create millions of high-quality jobs. Young people are demanding a cleaner, greener and more inclusive future, and we owe it to them to deliver on this.”

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